Practically anything can count as a stoner movie if you’re high enough. 18-hour nature documentary? Whoa, look at those fish, man. Somber black-and-white drama? Sure, why not! But the greatest stoner flicks have something more – a certain sticky green magic that makes you crack up laughing like the very first time you saw them, even on your ten-thousandth viewing. Truth be told, most of them are pretty hilarious even if you’re completely sober. But they’re definitely way funnier if you’re not.
10. True Romance’ (1993)
Brad Pitt’s finest moment? Hard to argue. He’s barely recognizable as the burnout with the bong on the couch – the inspiration for James Franco’s role in Pineapple Express. (Nothing wrong with Patricia Arquette, either.) His Floyd is a sage, whether he’s mumbling at the TV or inviting a posse of gun-toting Mob killers to smoke a bowl.
9 ‘Soul Plane’ (2004)
The crown jewel of Snoop Dogg‘s cinesplifferamic oeuvre. He stars as Captain Mack, the pilot of this airborne hooptie, flying the friendly skies with a weed-and-‘shrooms diet. “This is your soul-plane chauffeur, Captain Antoine Mack, speaking. Welcome aboard NWA Flight 069 from the 310 to the 212. . . . We fuckin’ higher than Redman at the Source Awards!”
8 ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ (1989)
Keanu Reeves takes up permanent residence in the stoner-flick Hall of Fame, although not even The Matrix or Point Break took him this far into the zone. As he and his buddy go traveling through time, the blankness all over his face made people marvel at his subtle acting. Maybe it wasn’t acting? Whoa!
7 ‘Friday’ (1995)
One day in the life of Ice Cube and Chris Tucker, chilling on a South Central porch with a head full of smoke. Tucker is one dealer who doesn’t mind getting high on his own supply. But remember: You don’t want to smoke up Big Worm’s stash, because playing with his money is like playing with his emotions.
6 ‘Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle’ (2004)
A candid portrait of the insanity of American society – disguised as a slapstick romp about two men on a quest for the right burger. Because some nights Burger Shack just won’t cut it. Along the way, they face the question every stoner must ask at some point: “Dude, didn’t we come here on a cheetah?”
5 ‘How High’ (2001)
Method Man and Redman go to Harvard (“How did I fail Women’s Studies? I love bitches!”) after discovering a new kind of chronic that turns them into geniuses. Their secret: using the ashes of their dead friend to fertilize their weed crop.
4 ‘Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie’ (1980)
It’s hard to turn a stoner comedy into a franchise – those require a little too much follow-through. But Cheech & Chong pulled it off with the immortal trilogy of Up in Smoke, Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie and Nice Dreams. And like the Godfather and Star Wars trilogies, this one peaks with Chapter Two – with some help from Pee-wee Herman. “Man, if you had a second brain,” says Cheech, “it would die of loneliness, man.
3 ‘Pineapple Express’ (2008)
Seth Rogen visits his dealer James Franco and gets a taste of a rare new herb delicacy called Pineapple Express: “It’s, like, the rarest. It’s almost a shame to smoke it. It’s like killing a unicorn. With, like, a bomb.” Do zany adventures ensue? Of course they do!
2 ‘Dazed and Confused’ (1993)
Texas small-town teens in the summer of 1976, breaking free in muscle cars on the last day of school. Richard Linklater gets the Seventies details right – including how these kids spend practically every minute blazing to Aerosmith and Foghat, arguing about aliens, sex and how much weed George Washington smoked.
1 ‘The Big Lebowski’ (1998)
How does the Dude abide? “Oh, the usual. I bowl. I drive around. The occasional acid flashback.” You definitely don’t have to be baked to fall under the spell of this Pynchon-times-Marx Brothers classic, but Jeff Bridges turns the Dude into the ultimate hippie hero, a hairy, bathrobe-clad American legend. It’s good knowing he’s out there, still hating the Eagles and still blasting his Creedence tapes.